BENGALURU: At 8 am Wednesday, a crucial meeting was scheduled between JD(S) General Secretary Danish Ali and Congress President Rahul Gandhi at the latter’s residence. Sticky seat-sharing issues between the JD(S) and Congress were to be sorted out, post the Gowda-Gandhi meeting last week, which had remained inconclusive. Leaders and cadre of the two parties waited with bated breath, as did the state of Karnataka, for an announcement to emerge from 12 Tughlak Lane.
There was none. Instead, there were reports of Rahul flying to Tamil Nadu. Political pundits were quick to point out that talks had broken down between the allies. Some even questioned whether the coalition would last. In reality, the 8 am meeting did not happen. Not because Rahul wanted to rebuff the JD(S), but because Danish Ali, self-confessedly a late riser, failed to reach the venue on time. By the time he did, Rahul had left for Tamil Nadu.
Danish, who admitted it was his mistake, said it was a very sorry day in his life. After missing the meeting, Ali received a mouthful from JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda and Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, details of which are not available with the media.
Scrambling into damage control, Ali booked the 2.30 pm flight to Kochi, about 2,000km away in Kerala. He reached the airport well in time, and in Kochi, was waiting for Rahul well before the appointed hour of 7 pm. After the most torturous 11 hours of his life, Ali met Rahul with a sheepish, “Sorry I was late”, when asked why he didn’t turn up for the 8 am appointment. After a short meeting where the deal was inked, Ali flew back to Delhi at 8.15pm, promising himself he would be a more punctual man.